A couple months ago we decided to get the Accountable Kids system. We ordered the Deluxe Start-Up Package which included the book, DVD, one child kit (a board, 60 reminder cards, 3 blank reminder cards, 10 tickets, 10 bonus bucks, 4 best behavior cards, 2 privilege passes, 3 special date cards, two sticker sheets), a family forum board with 10 name cards, and a mini board. I ordered 4 additional child kits. Ani often says I don’t do anything around the house, so we decided we’d get me a board as well. We splurged and had them engrave our names into the boards.
The first thing I did when the box arrived was read the book. It is filled with really great information and breaks the program down step by step and makes it easy to implement. Once I had down what to do, I assembled our boards.
We selected daily chore cards for the four kids and I. Pretty much everything was what they were already doing (or supposed to be doing) every day anyway. We divided them into morning, afternoon, and evening assignments. The reminder cards are designed to be cut to certain colors (lengths) to indicate the time they should be completed.
The boards come with the hardware needed and holes drilled to hang them on the walls. We will be moving before too long, plus there just aren’t any available walls in our house, so I had to come up with an alternative solution for hanging them up. After looking around Target, I settled on Command Strips. I found some strips that are kind of like Velcro and are supposed to hold up quite a bit of weight. I’m amazed at how fabulous these things work to hold up the boards.
I arranged the boards on a duct thing in our entry/dining room. They are easily accessible and look very nice. Once I had the boards up with the cards and everything hanging up, we were ready to start using them. Fritz and Adrian were especially excited to start using their cards and earn tickets. Ani and Cameron weren’t so excited, but they played along. And as long as I stay involved and on top of everything, we have great success with the program.
The first step involves the reminder cards and tickets. The reminder cards, for my kids in the morning for example, are things like vitamins, clean room, make bed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, school, etc. If the kids do all of their cards in one set (morning, afternoon, evening), they earn a ticket. They have to do every card (unless specifically excused – for example, weekends and holidays no one has to complete the school ticket) in order to get their ticket. Most people use them for x amount of TV or computer or video game time. Right now we have that x time set at an hour. Tickets are be lost for negative behaviors. When the kids do something above and beyond, they earn a Best Behavior card. Cameron got one, for example, when we went to a waterpark one day and Adrian was very tired and ready to go home, Ani wasn’t feeling well, and Fritz still wanted to be in the water. Cameron volunteered to take care of Fritz until it was time to leave so Jamie and I could deal with Adrian and Ani. We use the Best Behavior cards as double regular tickets. It’s truly amazing how the kids will do things I had to nag them to do just because a card tells them to and they’ll get a ticket if they do it.
Step two adds the special date card and privilege pass. If the kids do all of their reminder cards in a day (and so got all three possible tickets), they get a star sticker to put on their special date card. Once they have received 10 stars, they get a private date doing whatever they want (within reason) with whomever they want. Ani and Fritz earned their first date while my sister was in town and they both chose to have a date with her. Adrian picked McDonald’s and Fritz picked a doughnut place. Cameron’s first date was to Home Depot with my dad. Ani decided to go to Chipotle with Fritz (they made me sit across the restaurant from them). Cameron’s earned his second special date, but hasn’t decided what he wants to do for it.
The Privilege Pass is used for when the kid displays a specific positive behavior. We have been unable to come up with anything for Cameron so he just doesn’t use that part of the program right now. Ani will start with the Privilege Pass on September 17th when she starts back to school (she’ll have to get up on time without complaint). Fritz gets a Privilege Pass if he stays in bed all night long. Before we started with this, he came into our room 6 out of 7 nights a week. Since we started the Privilege Pass, he has not come into our room in a month and a half! Adrian earns a Privilege Pass if he sits nicely at dinner. He earns it three or four times a week (which is a definite improvement). Both boys can turn in their Pass to have a story read to them (Fritz pretty much always chooses to have me read a story from “The Happy Book” – his name for The Friend Magazine).
We have not yet added steps 3 and 4 to the program. Between Jamie traveling for work and Ani going to Florida to spend a few weeks with my aunt, it just hasn’t happened. When Ani comes back we will be implementing step 3 right away. Step 3 involves extra chores and bonus bucks. These are the chores we are willing to pay the kids to do. It is up to the kids if they want to complete them or not, but if they don’t it means they don’t earn money. Up until now we’ve been giving the kids an allowance. Once the extra chores are added, they’ll earn bonus bucks instead. Those bonus bucks will be exchanged once a week for real money.
The fourth and final step is the family forum and quiet time. The family forum will be combined with Family Home Evening. It’s basically a meeting to discuss schedules, problems and solutions, exchange bonus bucks for money, etc. I made a binder of information to help with those meetings.
Quiet Time is an hour a day of the kids (and me!) relaxing and having some lowkey individual time. It’s a perfect time to read a book, study scriptures, or play with quiet toys. In the past, I’ve done quiet time (quite a while ago… last I did it Fritz was a baby) and it really made our days run smoother.
So far, I’ve been very happy with Accountable Kids. Any failing of it is truly my own. Chores are getting done without me having to remind the kids repeatedly. The house looks nicer and I don’t feel like I’m doing everything (and the kids see that I do things, too). On a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest, I give Accountable Kids
I took away 1/2 star because it is very mom-intensive (but the success is a lot higher than the less mom-intensive things I’ve tried in the past). (Full Disclosure: I wrote this review to earn a rebate on part of what I paid for the Accountable Kids program. I did not have to write a positive review to earn the rebate.)